Ervin Santana and a Couple of Ghosts Filling out Braves’ Rotation

There have been very few starting pitchers who have matched the good-year, bad-year consistent inconstancy of former Angels’ starter Ervin Santana. The amazing pattern seen throughout his career is perhaps unprecedented. His rookie 12-8 year was solid and he followed that with an even better sophomore season, with 16 wins and again eight losses. Then the pattern began. The following year he fell to 7-14 and his 4.28 ERA ballooned to 5.76. He bounced back the next year, 2008, with a 16-7 record and 3.49 ERA. But 2009 was again a disaster that saw his win total fall to eight and his ERA back over 5.00. But 2010 would re-enforce the patter as he won a career high 17 and his ERA dropped to 3.92.

The pattern did become a bit fuzzy then as his 2011 season was neither all good nor all bad, as he posted an 11-12 won-lost record but a good 3.38 ERA. 2012 saw his fall back to one of

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his worst seasons, going 9-13 with again an ERA over 5.00, at 5.16. Leaving for greener pastures in Kansas City for the 2013 season, he had one of his most effective years, and his career-best ERA of

3.24, despite compiling only a 9-10 record.

All this does not bode well for his new team, as history tells us Santana will have a sub-.500 record and an ERA over 5.00.

One of the last free agent starters to find a 2014 home, reportedly Santana did have offers from Baltimore, Toronto, and Minnesota, but he has now signed with Atlanta after they

have seen the heart of their starting staff ripped asunder by yet another waive of injuries. The Braves may well begin the season with three-fifths of their starters on the disabled list, all with sketchy timetables for their return. The most serious injury appears to have been suffered by Kris Medlen, who may well miss the season and become yet another in a growing list of pitchers

who undergo a second Tommy John surgery. Brandon Beachy, like Medlen, left his last game with elbow pain, and Mike Minor, suffering from shoulder problems, has yet to make a spring appearance.

Medlen and Beachy have both been superb when able to step on the mound, but injuries has taken their toll already during their brief careers. Minor is just a step behind them in

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what he has shown so far, but he had post-season surgery and projections that he would pitch in April might be overly optimistic.

It appears the Braves will open the season with a rotation consisting of Santana, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, and who knows who else. Ancient Freddie Garcia is around, as is another young guy with potential, David Hale. The team had signed veteran Gavin Floyd, but he is

recovering from his own TJ surgery and won’t be available before at lease mid-season.

The great, young Braves staff, the led them to let Tim Hudson leave as a free agent, is in shambles as the season approaches.

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